If your natural nails have seen better days, they may be crying out for some TLC. Yellow, stained nails are more common than you think (and are pretty easy to hide with another coat of nail polish), but they could also be a sign that your nail health is in trouble.
Most commonly, yellow nails are caused by our beloved nail polish. The darker polishes especially take a toll on your nails, leaving them stained with leftover dyes. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is by always using a clear base coat. Not only does a base coat increase the life of your nail polish, but it also seals and protects the nail plates from staining. We love Salon Manicure Smooth and Strong Base Coat (Sally Hansen, $9).
Holly L. Schippers, CND Education Ambassador and Empower Nail Art Lead Educator at FingerNailFixer®, agrees that the best anti-yellowing tip by far is prevention, saying, "Using a base coat with polishes that need them and the daily application of a high-quality nail oil containing jojoba or squalene will protect the nails from staining."
The next biggest cause of yellow nails is the tar and nicotine from cigarettes. If you are a smoker, the best way to stop the yellowing of your nails is to stop smoking! OK, we know quitting is difficult, but we can't change the facts.
If none of these shoes fit, there could be a medical factor at play, meaning that you may need to get yourself to a dermatologist posthaste. RealSelf Contributor Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains, "Fungal infection is one of the most common causes of yellow nails. Other symptoms include flaking and peeling of the nail, along with an unpleasant odor. As the infection worsens, the nail bed could retract, causing nails to thicken and crumble." He adds, "A change in the color of your nails can also be a sign of something more serious. Thyroid, liver and lung diseases can all cause yellowing of the nails, as well as nutritional deficiencies like low iron or zinc."
While there are over-the-counter treatments for yellow nails caused by fungal infection, Dr. Schlessinger recommends visiting your dermatologist first of all. Prescriptions are far more effective than OTC, he says, "Plus, by seeing a medical professional, you’ll get a proper diagnosis and the best treatment for your needs."
Besides ditching the cigs and using a base coat, keep these tricks up your sleeve:
Updated by Bethany Ramos on 3/24/2016
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